Being a father in the Forces can be a fraught affair, but Army&You discovered an initiative that’s helping to bring dads together…


WHO let the dads out? (WLTDO) is a chaplaincy initiative to create a space for fathers to engage with their children and other dads.

“When they’re back with the family, Army dads can often feel de-skilled as fathers, sometimes just ‘child minding’ until mum can get on with the parenting,” said padre Steve Franklin.

There’s a thriving group of dads who meet monthly in Aldershot’s Connaught Community Centre to play, relax and usually do a craft activity.

“There are only two rules,” added Steve. “No women and there must be bacon sandwiches.”

It’s proving to be very popular. Martin has been attending WLTDO since it began in November last year. “I really look forward to having this time with my three children,” he explained. “The pace of life today both inside and outside of work is frantic, so to have these two hours each month is very precious to me.”

“I often return home from work long after my children are asleep,” added fellow attendee Chris. “WLTDO gives me time with my children in a safe, fun space. The chaplaincy team always make sure we have a good supply of coffee and bacon rolls and the bouncy castle is a massive hit with the kids.”

WLTDO aims to get dads thinking and open up discussion, whilst having a noisy and lively time with their children. Mums are not left out as the group has arranged discounts at coffee shops in town so they can have some chill time too.

Pop along on the first Saturday of every month 9.30am to 11.30am in Aldershot or, to find a group near you, go to wholetthedadsout.org.uk


Do you have a good initiative going on in your Service community? We would love to hear about it – send an email to deped@aff.org.uk

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